SBD/June 27, 2012/Media

ESPN's UEFA Euro Quarterfinals Ratings Improve By 31% From '08

ESPN's average audience for Italy-England was largest for tourney since Euro '08 final
The Italy-England UEFA Euro 2012 quarterfinal Sunday on ESPN was seen by an average of 2.97 million viewers, bigger than any UEFA championship match since the Euro 2008 Germany-Spain final, which was seen by 3.76 million viewers. The quarterfinal matches drew an average of 1.46 million HHs and 1.92 million viewers, a 31% increase in both measurements. Through the tournament’s first 28 matches, ESPN averaged 889,000 HHs and 1.14 million viewers, increases of 61% and 63%, respectively, versus ’08. The top 10 metered markets through the group stage are: N.Y, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Providence, L.A., DC, S.F., Richmond, Atlanta, Austin and San Diego. Meanwhile, ESPN Deportes’ broadcast of Italy-England was viewed by an average of 424,000 Hispanic HHs, based on an 8.1 rating. The telecast beat the net’s previous high of 357,000 Hispanic HHs for the UEFA Euro 2008 final. Through 24 live matches, ESPN Deportes has delivered an average rating of 3.5 and 184,000 HHs, up 46% and 117%, respectively (ESPN). In N.Y., Jack Bell noted, “As with the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and Euro 2008 … the network has benefited from the relatively benign time differences between Europe and southern Africa, which allow the games to be shown live in North America during daytime hours” (NYTIMES.com, 6/26).

EURO TRIP:
DAILY VARIETY’s Steve Clarke noted the Italy-England quarterfinal on BBC1 reached 23.2 million viewers, "easily beating the 19.9 million who tuned in to BBC1 to watch the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.” The match was the “most-watched event on U.K. TV this year” (VARIETY.com, 6/25). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Roxborough & Kemp noted in Italy, the match “became the top-rated game of the tournament to-date as 19.5 million fans tuned.” That “compares to the tournament average of 11.6 million” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/25). The GUARDIAN's Louis Taylor noted executives at BBC and ITV are “celebrating unexpectedly excellent tournament viewing figures.” The Italy-England match “attracted 20.3m BBC viewers, representing an impressive 67.8% share of the domestic audience.” No game during the ‘10 World Cup in South Africa was “watched by as many people in the UK.” Of the other quarterfinals, Spain-France “attracted a healthy" 8.8 million, Portugal-Czech Republic 8.7 million and the "potentially dramatic, politically resonant," Germany-Greece match attracted 8.2 million. ITV Controller of Sport Niall Sloane said of the strong interest, “I think the internet's had a lot to do with it. In the past you would have to buy a specialist publication if you were interested in finding out about these teams and their players." He added, “I think the phenomenon of rising audience figures has been around from about Euro 96. I first noticed it during the World Cup in France in 1998 when figures were consistently higher than predictions” (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 6/26).

THIS MEANS WAR:
The GUARDIAN's Steve Hewlett notes the fact that broadcaster BT originally bid for the whole lot of EPL rights -- "all seven packages -- with board clearance, reportedly, to spend somewhere north of [$3.1B US] if necessary, represents a very clear statement of intent -- one not lost on Sky.” Hewlett wrote, “Had BT succeeded in taking the lion's share of premium soccer as intended then the game, as they say, would have been well and truly changed. Instead BT faces what looks like an uphill battle against the old enemy” (GUARDIAN, 6/27).
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